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Pete Lessler on Record Keeping

Pete Lessler, AKA Colorado Pete, put this in the comments of my recent post on focused practice. I thought it was good enough advice that I wanted to capture it permanently as its own post. The conversation centered around my thoughts that I haven’t been approaching my practice sessions as effectively as I could. Pete’s advice was to log every shot in as much detail as I could.

Be aware of, and try to record, things like the following:

Exactly how you built your position;
Exactly how you used your sling – where on your arm and how tight;
Exactly how well you got your NPOA on target;
How relaxed vs. tense you were, and in what muscles, and why;
How big your wobble zone is;
The state of your breathing (slow, fast, deep, shallow);
How your trigger action felt (forced vs. easy, quick vs. slow);
How well your trigger action was coordinated with your breathing;
If you saw your sight lift in recoil;
If you saw your sight recover from recoil;
Where the sight recovered to rest vs. your desired aiming point;
If your eye stayed focused on the front sight throughout this entire cycle;
If your mind was relaxed and focused on only the minimum actions required to fire the shot;
If you had other mental or physical distractions during the act of firing the shot.

Try to track all of this, every shot. The devil is in these details.

That’s quite a list, and definitely means that my usual method of loading five shots, taking position and firing a string is going to take a back seat. This level of mindfulness is something I’ve just never worked with before. But, if I am to break the plateau that I’ve been on, this is the level of detail that will help me look for trends and patterns.

Thanks, Pete!

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3 thoughts on “Pete Lessler on Record Keeping”

  1. You’re welcome.
    When you get down to this level, you’ll not only start recognizing and fixing small errors and inconsistencies that cause problems, you’ll start becoming sensitized to them, on a very fine and subtle level. You’ll catch them and fix them in the process of firing the shot. And a lot of those good day/bad day seesaws and the one mystifying bad shot out of an otherwise good group will start disappearing.

    1. A new goal for me is to be much more diligent about recording information, results, insights, etc. during my practice.

      I’d appreciate any comments on when doing that for each individual shot might not be appropriate or beneficial. I’ve spent a lot of time following the Appleseed advice of using “Rifleman’s Cadence” (a string with one shot about every three seconds, or with every breath). Not with the goal of specifically going for tight groups on paper, but rather with the goal in mind of trying to make sure I can stay relaxed for each shot, staying within my NPOA.

      I realize in the “real world”, the first (and many times the only) shot is the one that really matters, so maybe I’m overthinking…

      1. Mike,
        It is always beneficial, if you have the time. The main thing is that you pay attention and are aware of these things. The recording of it is nice to have, but the main thing is that you learn to notice these little things, remember them, and analyze what they mean. After a while you can become extremely sensitized to what is happening and fix things even as they happen in the process of firing a shot. So even in rapid fire you can still keep track.

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